Our libraries are rich in resources such as local newspapers and magazines. There are many library users who value the opportunity to look up their ancestors and uncover long-forgotten stories of local people and places.
However, newspapers become increasingly fragile and delicate as time passes, so in order to preserve this wealth of information for future generations SWRLS conceived and pioneered the Newsplan project in collaboration with the British Library Newspaper Library.
The aim is to build up a comprehensive archive of local newspapers by microfilming papers that are 'in peril', and so the project has been expanded to include all of the other regions in the British Isles. The importance of the scheme is recognised by public libraries and the newspaper industry, and in 1999 Newsplan was granted £5 million Heritage Lottery Fund Award towards microfilming 3,500 titles. The SW bid was for 246 titles.
A national panel, under the auspices of the Library and Information Co-operation Council ( LINC), monitors and co-ordinates progress.
The SWRLS Newsplan Implementation Group meets twice yearly and is attended by local history librarians from the region. A list of resulting microfilmed titles was produced by I. Maxted in 2005. For further details of the SW holdings click here
An updated listing of all local newspaper holdings in the region is in preparation. A draft copy ( excludes Devon, Plymouth and Torbay holdings) can be accessed here but SWRLS bears no responibility for errors, or omssions.
Newspapers are invaluable and irreplacable sources of local and national history. As a result of Newsplan, library users will be able to access information, pictures and articles that were previously destined to languish and eventually disintegrate.
A useful Teaching Guide on Digitised Newspapers by Warwick University can be acessed here
British Library ceased producing microfilms of newspapers December 2010. FAQ on this matter can be seen by clicking here.